The Lakers weren't expecting to get a walkthrough -- a pregame practice going over positions -- on their off-day in Washington D.C. on Monday.
But when you're going to meet the President, you practice.
On Monday, the Lakers got to meet Baller-in-Chief Barak Obama, and before the President walked in and official press conference started, the Lakers had a walk-though with White House staff on where to walk in, where to stand on the risers and the like.
They got it right when the lights went on -- just like they did last year in the NBA Finals, which is the reason they got to meet the President. And while the President does more of these meet-and-greet photo ops than anyone on the planet, he seemed to seriously enjoy this one. Because who doesn't want to take a break from writing and rehearsing a long speech given to a room where half the people want you to lose your job, so instead you can talk hoops with Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant?
Obama has made no secret before he is a fan of Jackson, not surprising since he grew up in Chicago as a Bulls fan. Obama also made a joke about Jackson's ritual of handing out books to players before their longest road trip of the year, saying he would like Jackson to send the Democrats and Republicans some books about playing as a team.
This was not the first time meeting the president for all of the players. Jordan Farmar introduced Obama at a campaign rally in Newport Beach back in 2008.
"President Obama was really cool," Farmar said. "We talked basketball right away."
Magic Johnson was there for the Lakers and said Obama was the first person he let talk some trash to him without talking back. Jeanie Buss offered Obama some courtside seats (although more people would still want to see Jack Nicholson).
If the weather in Washington were not the typical January cold and dreary, Obama would have wanted to have done this ceremony outside, on the full-sized basketball court he had put in at the White House. Maybe shot around a little on the court, and with the way the Lakers have played defense of late Obama probably could put up 20 points on them. The scouting report on Obama is that he is a pretty good and smart player, but likes to talk a little trash and shoot a little too much.
Maybe Kobe and Obama would have gotten along just fine.